Iraqi PM Forced To Resign After Security Forces Shoot 40 Protesters Dead


The most recent updates from The Associated Press on anti-government protests in Iraq (all times local):

4:20 p.m.

Celebrations have erupted in Iraq’s Tahrir Square, where anti-government protesters have been camped out for nearly two months, following an announcement by the Iraqi premier that he would be resigning.

The square in central Baghdad has been the epicenter of protests that began Oct. 17 to decry corruption, poor services and lack of jobs.

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Shortly after Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi announced his intention to resign Friday, protesters in Tahrir broke out in song and dance in celebration.

A 25-year-old protester, who identified herself by her first name Amira, said the resignation should have come many weeks ago.

“We will not stop with the Prime Minister, we still have more fighting to do. We will push forward until our demands are met.”

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3:40 p.m.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi says he will submit his resignation to Parliament in the wake of anti-government protests, a bit over a year since he took office.

The statement, broadcast on Iraqi TV, comes a day after more than 40 protesters were killed by security forces and shortly after Iraq’s top Shiite cleric called on the parliament to withdraw support.

Abdul-Mahdi says he will present to parliament an official memorandum asking for the resignation of the current government.

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1:30 p.m.

Iraq’s top Shiite cleric is warning of civil war after a deadly day of violence in which security forces shot dead 40 people in the capital and the southern provinces, calling on lawmakers who to “reconsider” their support for the current government.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani says the parliament that voted the government of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi is “invited to reconsider its choices in that regard,” in his weekly Friday sermon delivered in the holy city of Najaf.

Al-Sistani also said protesters should distinguish between peaceful demonstrators and those with have malign intentions to coopt their movement.

Forty protesters were shot dead by security forces in Baghdad and the southern cities of Najaf and Nasiriya on Thursday, one day after the burning of an Iranian consulate.

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